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Because the wealthy rogue can throw away,
For half a brace of bouts, a tribune's pay :
But you, poor finner, though you love the vice,
And like the whore, demur upon the price :
And, frighted with the wicked fum, forbear
To lend a hand, and help her from the chair.
Produce a witness of unblemith'd life,
Holy as Numa or as Numa's wife,
Or 2 him who bid th' unhallow'd flames retire,
And snatch'd the trembling Goddess from the fire !
The queftion is not put how far extends
His piety, but what he yearly spends :
Quick to the bus’ness; how he lives and eats;
How largely gives ; how fplendidly he treats :
How many thousand acres feed his sheep,
What are his rents ? what servants does he keep,
Th’account is soon caft up; the judges rate
Our credit in the court by our eftate.
Swear by our Gods, or those the Greeks adore,
Thou art as fure forsworn, as thou art poor :
The poor must gain their bread by perjury ;
And e'en the Gods, that other means deny
In conscience must absolve 'em, when they lye.
Add, that the rich have still a gibe in store ;
And will be monstrous witty on the poor :
For the torn surtout and the tatter'd veft,
The wretch and all his wardrobe are a jelt:
The greasy gown, sully'd with often turning,
Gives a good hint, to say, The man's in mourning :
Or if the shoe be ript, or patches put,
He's wounded ! see the plaister on his foot.
Want is the scorn of ev'ry wealthy fool;
And wit in rags is turn'd to ridicule.
2 Or him who bid, &c. Lucius Metellus the high-prieft; who when the temple of Vefta was on fire, saved the Palladium. VOL. IV.
Pack hence, and from the cover'd benches rise,
(The master of the ceremonies cries)
This is no place for you, whose fmall estate
Is not the value of the settled rate:
The fons of happy punks, the pandar's heir,
Are privileg'd to fit in triumph there,
To clap the first, and rule the theatre.
Up to the galleries, for fhame retreat ;
For, by the 3 Roscian law, the poor can claim no feat.
Who ever brought to his rich daughter's bed,
The man that poll'd but twelve pence for his head:
Who ever nam'd a poor man for his heir,
Or call'd him to afliit the judging chair?
The poor were wise, who by the rich oppress’d,
Withdrew, and sought a sacred place of reft.
Once they did well, to free themselves from scorn;
But had done better never to return.
Rarely they rise by virtue's aid, who lie
Plung'd in the depth of helplefs poverty.
At Rome 'tis worse; where house-sent by the year,
And servants bellies coft fo devilish dear;
And tavern-bills run high for hungry cheer.
To drink or eat in earthen-ware we fcorn,
Which cheaply country-cupboards does adorn:
And coarse blue hoods on holidays are worn.
Some distant parts of Italy are known,
Where 4 none but ony dead men wear a gown :
On theatres of turf, in homely ftate,
Old plays they act, old feafts they celebrate :
The same rude fong returns upon the crowd,
And, by tradition, is for wit allow'd.
3 For by tbe Roscian. law, &c. Roscius a tribune, who ordered the distinction of places in publick fhows, betwixt the noblemen of Rome and the Plebeians.
4 Wbere none but only dead men, &c. The meaning is, that mer in some parts of Italy never wore a gown (the usual habit of the Romans) till they were buried in one.
The mimic yearly gives the fame delights ;
And in the mother's arms the clownish infant frights.
Their habits (undistinguish'd by degree)
Are plain, alike ; the same fimplicity,
Both on the stage, and in the pit, you see.
In his white cloak the magistrate appears ;
The country bumpkin the same liv'ry wears,
But here, attir'd beyond our purse we go,
For useless ornament and Aaunting show :
We take on trust, in purple robes to thine;
poor, are yet ambitious to be fine,
This is a common vice, though all things here
Are sold, and fold unconscionably dear.
What will you give that 5 Coffus may but view
Your face, and in the crowd diftinguish you ;
May take your incense like a gracious God,
And answer only with a civil nod'?
To please our patrons, in this vicious age,
We make our entrance by the fav'rite page :
Shave his first down, and when he pulls his hair,
The consecrated locks to temples bear :
Pay tributary cracknels, which he fells,
And, with our off'rings, help to raise his vails,
Who fears in country-towns a house's fall,
Or to be caught betwixt a riven wall?
But we inhabit a weak city here;
Which buttresses and props but scarcely bear :
And 'tis the village-mason's daily calling,
To keep the world's metropolis from falling,
To cleanse the gutters, and the chinks to close;
And, for one night, secure his lord's repose.
At Cumæ we can sleep quite round the year,
Nor falls, nor fires, nor nightly dangers fear;
While rolling flames from Roman turrets fly,
And the pale citizens for buckets cry.
5 Colus is here taken for any great man.
Thy neighbour has remov'd his wretched store
(Few hands will rid the lumber of the poor)
Thy own third story smokes, while thou, fupines
Art drench'd in fumes of undigefted wine.
For if the lowest floors already barn,
Cock-lofts and garrets soon will take the turn.
Where 6 shy tame pigeons next the tiles were bred,
Which, in their nefts unsafe, are timely fled.
7 Codrus had but one bed, so short to boot,
That his fhort wife's short legs hung dangling out;
His cupboard's head fix earthen pitchers grac'd,
Beneath 'em was his trukty tankard płac’d.
And, to fupport this noble plate, there lay
A bending Chiron caft from honeft clay;
His few Greek books a rotten cheft contain'd;
Whose covers much of mouldiness complain'd:
Where mice and rats devour'd poetic bread;
And with heroick verse luxuriously were fed.
'Tis true, poor Codrus nothing had to boast,
And yet poor Codras all that nothing loft.
Begg'd naked thro' the streets of wealthy Rome;
And found not one to feed, or take him home.
But if the palace of Arturius burn, The nobles change their cloaths, the matrons mourn ; The city-prætor will no pleadings hear; The very name of fire we hate and fear : And look aghaft, as if the Gauls were here. While
it burns, th' officious nation flies, Some to condole, and some to bring fupplies : One sends him marble to rebuild, and one With naked ftatues of the Parian ftone,
6 Where thy tame pigeons, &c. The Romans used to breed their tame pigeons in their garrets.
7 Codrus, a learned man, very poor : by his books supposed to be a poet. For, in all probability, the heroick verses here mentioned which rats and mice devoured, were Homer's works,
The work of Polyclete, that seem to live ;
While others images for altars give;
One books and skreens, and Pallas to the breast;
Another bags of gold, and he gives best.
Childless Arturius, vastly rich before,
Thus by his losses multiplies his store ;
Suspected for accomplice to the fire,
That barnt his palace but to build it higher,
you be content to bid adieu
To the dear play-house, and the players too :
Sweet country-feats are purchas'd every where,
With lands and gardens, at less price than here
You hire a darksome doghole by the year,
A small convenience decently prepar'd,
A fhallow well that rises in your yard,
That spreads his easy crystal streams around,
And waters all the pretty spot of ground,
There, love the fork, thy garden cultivate,
And give thy frugal friends 8 a Pythagorean treat,
"Tis somewhat to be lord of some small ground
In which a lizard may, at leaft, turn round.
'Tis frequent, here, for want of fleep to die;
Which fumes of undigefted feasts deny;
And, with imperfect heat, in languid ftomachs fry,
What house secure from noise the poor can keep,
When ev'n the rich can foarce afford to sleep ;
So dear it costs to purchase reft in Rome ;
And hence the sources of diseases come,
The drover who his fellow-drover meets
In narrow paffages of winding streets;
The waggoners that curse their standing teams,
Would wake ey'n droufy Drufius from his dreams,
And yet the wealthy will not brook delay,
But sweep above our heads, and make their way;
In lofty litters bornę, and read and write,
Or fleep at ease: the fhutters make it night.
8 A Pyebagorean treat : He means herbs, roots, fruits, and sallade.